Ohio School Shooter Chose Victims 'Randomly,' Prosecutor Says
Alleged shooter TJ Lane's alleged shooting was "not about bullying."
CHARDON, Ohio, Feb. 28, 2012 — -- The teenager who allegedly killed three students and wounded two others when he shot up his Ohio school cafeteria did not know his victims and "chose them randomly," a prosecutor said today.
The statement was made during suspect T.J. Lane's first appearance in juvenile court today.
During the appearance, the judge did not allow Lane to be shown on camera and the prosecutor did not provide a motive for the lethal shooting spree.
But at a news conference shortly after the court hearing, prosecutor David Joyce said, "This is not about bullying. This is not about drugs. This is someone who is not well."
"[Lane] confessed to taking the pistol and admitted he went into the cafeteria and shot 10 rounds," Joyce said. "[He said he] did not know the students, but chose them randomly."
The prosecutor alleged that Lane, 17, went to Chardon High School with a .22 caliber handgun and a knife. He shot four students in the cafeteria and one in the hallway before leaving the school. He was detained by police within a mile of the school.
Lane has not yet been charged, but Joyce said he expected Lane to be charged with three counts of aggravated murder. Joyce also said that he will "absolutely" want to try Lane as an adult.
Lane's grandfather and two aunts sat beside him in court.
Joyce asked that Lane be kept in detention and his attorney did not object, so the judge ordered Lane to be taken to a detention facility.
"TJ Lane will remain in detention during proceedings due to serious nature of allegations and charges," Judge Timothy Grendell said.
Three victims have died, Nick Walczak remains in the hospital and Joy Rickers has been released from the hospital.
Russell King and Demetrius Hewlin, students wounded in Monday's shooting, died this morning, officials said today.
"We are very saddened by the loss of our son and others in our Chardon community," Hewlin's family said in a statement. "Demetrius was a happy young man who loved life and his family and friends. We will miss him very much but we are proud that he will be able to help others through organ donation."
They added, "We ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time."
Earlier today, King, 17, was pronounced brain dead at 12:42 a.m. at Ohio's MetroHealth Medical Center, according to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office. At 4:49 a.m., police were informed that King had "passed."
Another victim, identified by MetroHealth Hospital as Daniel Parmertor died from the wounds on Monday, hours after being shot.
The Chardon Police Department released four 911 calls today with people reporting multiple gun shots at the school.
"Chardon High School calling. We are in lockdown. We need assistance right now. There's a student with a gun," a woman says in one call.
A man tells the dispatcher, "Three down in the cafeteria. Students down. We need an ambulance."
The school's principal tells described the shooter's appearance to the dispatcher as, "white t-shirt, shaggy dark hair, tall, skinny."
As the Ohio town coped with the carnage, the focus turned to alleged shooter T.J. Lane who a fellow student and witness identified as the person who shot up his school cafeteria Monday.
Nate Mueller, a student who was sitting with three friends who were shot, described Lane to ABC News as "a quiet kid. Freshman year he got into a 'goth' phase and didn't talk to that many people anymore. He never egged anybody on. He just went about his business."
Some classmates described Lane as an outcast who'd been bullied. In late December, he posted a poem on his Facebook page that read: "He longed for only one thing, the world to bow at his feet," and ended ominously: "Die, all of you."
But other classmates say Lane had friends and wasn't bullied.
"He had friends. He was quiet," Chardon High School student Tyler Lillash said. "From what I heard he posted some pictures on Twitter of, like, some dude holding guns. But other than that I don't really know. I don't think he was bullied, though."